STORY AND PHOTOS BY SUZIE DUNDAS
It’s well known that Truckee and the North Lake Tahoe area can get pretty crowded on a Friday or Saturday night — which may be why so many locals decide to celebrate summer midweek at Truckee Thursdays, held every week until August 23.
Starting around noon in Truckee every Thursday, the downtown area on Donner Pass Road closes to traffic. Barricades and tents go up, a stage is assembled, and food trucks start rolling in by mid-afternoon. The community event is open to the public from 5 to 8:30 p.m. every evening and offers live music, a large beer garden and food truck area, and plenty of local vendors and artisans sharing their crafts in the pedestrian-friendly area in front of Downtown Truckee’s Merchant’s Row.
Food-and-drink options are plentiful at Truckee Thursdays
The year 2018 marks the 10th year for Truckee Thursdays, and the summer street festival has continued to grow every year. Unlike in previous years, the beer garden, which was previously tightly packed around the stage, has been extended to surround the entire food area, creating much more room to socialize. Both the live band and dining areas are appropriate for all ages, making it easy for families to stay together while eating and drinking. This also means that adults can grab brews and try some new food at the same time, rather than having to finish their beers before leaving the alcohol-approved area.
And that’s good news for foodies: This year’s Truckee Thursdays will feature 17 food vendors — more than they’ve ever had in the past.
“Applicants are chosen based on cuisine, experience, and variety,” says Missy Konig, the event manager for Truckee Thursdays. “So foodies love Truckee Thursdays because of our eclectic array of vendors and their menus.”
That dedication to variety is evident this year, with options ranging from falafel and lobster rolls to oversized hot dogs and quesadillas grilled while you wait.
Falafel from Falafel Kis in Nevada City
Lobster roll from Morgan’s Lobster Shack
Hot dogs from Sierra Concessions
Of course, summer evenings can get hot, so guests have several options of frozen treats from which to choose, from Little Truckee Ice Creamery to Frozen Fantasies hand-dipped frozen fruit, which offer plenty of treats just waiting to be Instagrammed. Konig says the variety of small bites mixed with larger plates is intentional, as it allows guests to bring the whole family for dinner, or just share a small snack while watching the band.
Hand-dipped frozen banana from Frozen Fantasies
Even if you’re not in the food area, you’ll come across a few tempting items, as the vendor area outside of the beer garden also includes plenty to snack on. Options include gourmet and spicy popcorn from Treat Yourself NV, Tahoe Truckee Jerky, and even free tastes from DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF, the Lake Tahoe area’s newest specialty coffee roaster. Permanent businesses are getting in on the action, too, with specials from Bud’s Ice Cream and homemade slices of pie (ice cream optional!) available from Coffee And.
Popcorn from Treat Yourself NV
DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF
Pies from Coffee And
If you’re already downtown for a Truckee Thursdays event, it’s a great time to grab dinner or a cocktail at one of the local businesses, and the businesses have caught on to that. As such, you’ll find plenty of specials running during Truckee Thursdays from the restaurants on Donner Pass road. Truckee Tavern offers discounts on wine, cocktails, and beer from 4 to 6 p.m, and local favorite Old Town Tap offers discounted snacks and drinks during their “Happiest Hour,” also from 4 to 6 p.m.
Old Town Tap
Even Pianeta, one of Truckee’s smallest and most popular restaurants, offers food and drink specials from 5 to 6 p.m. during Truckee Thursdays. We love the sharable Bruschetta Two Ways, perfect for vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Truckee Tavern • 10118 Donner Pass Road, Truckee • Truckeetavern.com
Old Town Tap • 10164 Donner Pass Road, Truckee • OldTownTapTruckee.com
Pianeta Restaurant • 10096 Donner Pass Road, Truckee • Pianetarestauranttruckee.com
Truckee Thursdays provide the ideal reason to spend a summer evening in the mountains without fighting the crowds you’ll find on weekends. Though the event is popular, there’s always room to catch a song or two by the stage or browse the artisan displays along the sidewalk. With plenty of delicious options — and no reason not to try a few — it’s the perfect way to get the weekend started a little early.
If you snap a great photo of your dish, share it with us by tagging @ediblerenotahoe when you post.